The Downtown Ithaca Alliance consists of many dedicated workers. There are five full-time employees, five part-time employees, seasonal Hospitality Ambassadors, and many interns and volunteers that help to fulfill the needs of Downtown Ithaca.

Gary Ferguson

Executive Director

Gary Ferguson has been the Executive Director of the DIA since 1999. Gary has previous experience with the cities of Lewiston, ME; Dayton, OH; and Grand Junction, CO. He specializes in business attraction and retention, urban design, public policy and strategic planning.

You can email Gary at:

Kris Lewis

Operations Director

Kris Lewis, the former proprietor of Morris’ Men’s Wear, has been the DIA’s Operations Director since 2009.  Kris oversees downtown operations concerning ambassadors, maintenance, and beautification on the Ithaca Commons, as well as government relations and business retention.

You can email Kris at:

Allison Graffin

Marketing Director

Allison joined the DIA in November 2014.  She oversees all the advertising, strategic marketing from concept to creation, and member services for all district members.  Additionally, Allison works with Gary on economic development and grant writing. A longtime Southern Tier resident, Graffin graduated with a degree in advertising and marketing from Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI and previously worked as Marketing Director for Ithaca Beer Co. for 6+ years.

You can email Allison at:

Scott Rougeau

Special Events Director

Scott Rougeau joined DIA in 2016 as a special events associate helping with the planning and orchestration of festivals as well as leading outreach efforts for transportation demand management.
Recently, Scott assumed the role and responsibilities of Special Events Director and will lead efforts to grow and shape Downtown Ithaca events including the Apple Harvest Festival, Summer Concert Series, Winter Light Festival and Chili Cook-Off to name a few.

You can email Scott at:

Darlene M. Wilber

Communications Manager | TDM Research Assistant

Darlene Donohue comes to Downtown Ithaca with more than 10 years of journalism experience.  She crafts DIA’s press releases, newsletters, and other communications materials and manages downtown Ithaca’s social media feeds. In addition, Darlene organizes the DIA’s ribbon cutting ceremonies and completes regional and national research projects.
In addition, she helped launch the organization’s transportation demand management (TDM) program and transportation management association (TMA).
A Western New York native, Darlene is an avid Bills and Sabres fan.

You can email Darlene at:

Olivia Pastella

Special Events Associate

Olivia joins the DIA team after many years of hands-on event and marketing experience in Ithaca. She assists in community event organizing, festival planning, and the equipment lending program. She graduated from Ithaca College in 2016, fell in love with this town, and has stuck around for the food, hiking, and biking.

You can email Olivia at:

Kristina Thelen

Business Support Coordinator

Kristina joins the DIA team after formerly owning and operating two downtown business (Funky Junk and Amuse: Modern Cottage Industry) over the course of 8 years. Kristina has a background in the arts, merchandising, product development, design, marketing, and event planning. She remains passionately committed to helping downtown Ithaca remain a place that people want to be.

Kristina serves as a liaison to downtown’s merchants and assists with creating programming and organizing networking events.!

You can email Kristina at

Lora Morrow

Graphic Designer

Description Coming Soon!

You can email Lora at:

Lauren Gabuzzi

GO ITHACA Program Director

Description Coming Soon!

You can email Lauren at: